We can all agree that water conservation is a good idea. It’s a finite resource – there’s only so much of the stuff in those reservoirs and rivers after all – and the less you use the more money you save. What often gets forgotten is that reducing water usage also reduces energy consumption. It takes a lot of energy to drive water to your tap, plus a whole load extra after it goes down the drain (when it has to be cleaned up for the next people to use). But, the best part? You only need to make a few changes to make a difference.
Washing machines used to be the behemoths of water usage. These days they are far more efficient, saving tens of litres of water per load. Most models have a water consumption estimate, so if it’s time to replace your machine the magic figure to look for is below 12,000 litres per year.
When doing laundry, make sure you have a full load each time. And think about skipping the extra rinse, as that’s mainly to remove fabric softener for those with sensitive skin.
Dishwashers use less water than hand washing (the flip side, of course, is they use energy – there’s more on the pros and cons of having a dishwasher vs hand washing here). As with the laundry, only run with a full load. If you hand wash, fill a bowl rather than leaving the tap running.
You’d expect a shower to use less water than a bath, but some power showers can rack up water usage in no time (well, within five minutes or so). Use an efficient low flow showerhead, which restricts the volume of water without compromising power. Aerating showerheads cleverly mix in air with the water giving the impression of a high-volume shower without using as much H2O.
Bonus tip: If the water takes a while to heat up don’t let it run down the drain; rather collect it for watering house plants.
Toilet flushing can account for a third of a household’s water use. Enter the dual flush toilet, which is designed to expend less water overall as well as providing two flush options, depending on how much you need. To become really adept at the water-saving game install a composting toilet – no water required at all!
5. Brushing your teeth
We all know this one, right? (Turn off the tap when scrubbing to save those six litres a minute.)